Cloud Storage “Shadow IT” Causes Security Concerns, Report Says

Gartner - CIOs Need a Cloud First FocusSecurity concerns have over three-quarters of IT professionals worried about consumer-grade cloud-based file sync and share services, according to a new paper (sign-up required) from tech research firm Osterman Research released in conjunction with cloud storage company CTERA Networks.

The report, titled The Critical Need for Enterprise-Grade File Sync and Share Solutions, highlights security professionals concerns regarding shadow IT use of consumer cloud storage solutions that show a clear need for—you guessed it— secure, enterprise-grade file sync and share solutions (EFFS).

For the uninitiated, Shadow IT is any IT system or solution used with an organization without approval from the IT department. In this case, employees may be trying to find better ways to access corporate data by using consumer-grade cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

Osterman’s report notes that usage of consumer storage applications without the blessing of the IT department has grown significantly between May 2012 and January 2015. According to Osterman, just 11 percent of Dropbox enterprise use was IT approved in 2012, while 45 percent was considered shadow IT. In 2015, 28 percent of IT departments have approved Dropbox usage, but illicit use has risen to 49 percent.

But, while consumer cloud storage has improved security in recent years, there are obvious security concerns when you have corporate data on a disparate network of consumer clouds.

“The use of [consumer-grade file sync and share] solutions shifts control over corporate data from IT to individual employees, and has become a key element of the ‘shadow IT’ or ‘consumerized IT’ problem that organizations must address,” says the report.

According to Osterman’s research, more than three quarters (76 percent) of survey respondents said that they are at least somewhat concerned about consumer-grade file sync and share solutions, while just 5 percent claimed they were “not concerned at all.”

You can access the report in full here (sign-up required).

Jeff Edwards
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